The Wild Trees by Richard Preston

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The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring by Richard Preston (c2007)

The coast redwood, existing only in coastal forests in northern California and southern Oregon, is the world’s tallest tree species. In 1963, the National Geographic Society launched an expedition to locate the tallest living specimen and christened the Libbey Tree (aka the Tall Tree), standing at 367.8 feet, as such. With the Libbey Tree serving as its focal point, Redwood National Park was established in 1968.

Since that time (and even prior to it) very little actual research was conducted in the redwood forests. But in the late 1980’s, a small group of college science students managed to climb to the top of a redwood and discovered a complex and previously unknown ecosystem of living things thriving in its canopy. Meanwhile, a separate small group of oddball amateur naturalists began exploring the forests as well and discovered a number of specimens that were taller than even the Libbey Tree. Eventually these two groups would come together and become the leading authorities on redwoods.

Preston’s account of these individuals and their findings makes for a compelling and fascinating read. And for me at least, it’s refreshing to know that there are still pockets of unexplored earth out there to be found. Check catalog for availability.

- submitted by Tom @ MPL Central

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A good companion book for The Wild Trees is Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast by Van Pelt, who is mentioned in Preston's book.

Van Pelt has a few nice images of some of the redwoods, whereas The Wild Trees has B&W illustrations.

The Wild Trees is good reading even twice through.





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